As a native New Orleans resident, Ernest Nathan Morial spent his life fighting for equal rights for Blacks in the city. As an attorney and president of the local NAACP chapter from 1962 to 1965, he fought for integration of buses and schools.
He continued to serve his city on a prominent level when he was elected as the first African-American mayor of New Orleans on Nov. 12, 1977. Morial was credited for introducing hiring quotas for Black workers in the city. The percentage of Black workers in the city's workforce increased from 40 percent in 1977 to 53 percent in 1985 while he was mayor.
Morial served two terms and his son Marc Morial eventually followed in his footsteps and later served as mayor of New Orleans. Ernest Morial was considering a third run for mayor before he died at the age of 60 on Dec. 24, 1989.
BET National News - Keep up to date with breaking news stories from around the nation, including headlines from the hip hop and entertainment world. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
(Photo: Mayor Ernest N. Morial Photograph Collection via New Orleans Public Library)